Ella likes to spend time in my office and so I decided to buy a PS3 game we could play together. I wanted to find a game we would both enjoy, but be easy enough for her to play. What better than Lego Star Wars?
It has been great – we both love Star Wars and so she knows all the characters and enjoys recognizing storylines from the movies as we play. (She prefers being Luke or Leia, and I try to be Han as much as possible.) The game itself is pretty good, not too easy and not too hard. It also has some fun cut-scenes that have cracked us both up at times.
It has also been a bit of a trip exploring this new and interesting dynamic. Ella will sometimes forget that we are playing on the same team and she will start trash talking me. I actually really dislike it, and try to talk to her about how working together is more fun than competing. But its also funny at times when she comes up with a good burn, like letting me blow up and stealing all my coins so she can rub it in.
It’s also fun to hear her say “Thanks dad” when I help her out with something in the game. Or she snarkily says “If you say so” or “really, dad?” when we are arguing about which way to go. I’m embarrassed to say we have even gotten stuck a few times and had to really work to figure out how to finish the level. I love hearing her come up with a plan, and she says “wait, I got it – follow me dad.” It is really cool when she is the one to figure out the solution, of course even when its me that solves the puzzle, she always breaks out an “I knew it, the whole time.”
Also, if you are rolling your eyes about my parenting via video games – a study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that “girls who played age-appropriate video games with a parent felt more connected to their families, lowered internalizing (e.g., depression/anxiety) and fewer problems with aggressive behavior.”
Unfortunately, the big question is whether Star Wars is age-appropriate – it does involve a lot of Lego on Lego violence. To date I have only been able to find one game without violence – its called Flower and you fly around a field blooming flowers, it is surprisingly fun, but also surprisingly a little too hard for Ella. I guess we’ll stick with Star Wars for now – we already blew up the first Death Star and escaped Hoth, so we have a ways to go before we have to begrudgingly play through the prequels. (Although, I bet the Lego game version will be better than the movies were.)